New heart imaging technology available at MVH

A recently purchased CT scanner at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has allowed the hospital to begin offering CTA exams, a non-invasive way to detect blockages in arteries. — Courtesy Martha's Vineyard Hospi

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital radiology department started using a new tool this week that can detect potentially blocked arteries.

The exam, known as a Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA), uses a recently purchased CT scanner to detect the presence of coronary heart disease. “The importance of the CTA is that we can actually see the arteries,” Dr. Aliya Browne, medical director of cardiology at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, is quoted in a press release. Browne said that many patients have had to travel off Island to get those exams.

The hospital can schedule up to four CTA exams per day and already had four patients scheduled on Thursday, Feb. 16 — the launch day of the procedure. The exam takes about an hour, during which time Misael Rios, clinical manager for diagnostic imaging at MVH, says that the scanner takes thousands of images of arteries and makes a 3D model of the heart.

“From there we can see if there is an inefficient amount of blood going to a specific coronary artery, so it’s an additional diagnostic tool for a cardiologist,” Rios said.

This upgraded modality was made possible when the new CT scanner was purchased to replace older technology in the MVH radiology department. “It’s a very exciting time,” Rios said. “These are my favorite exams to perform in radiology because it’s one where you can see the pathology and you know that as a technologist you’re making a huge impact regarding the patient’s care.”